I’m a big fan of director Doug Liman. Swingers and Go are both all sorts of fun. His first big budget move, The Bourne Identity redefined action movies in a big way. The commentary on the original release of that DVD is one of the best commentaries I’ve ever heard. His cut of Mr. & Mrs. Smith is a good bit of fun too. So when I saw he directed the movie Jumper, I thought this might not be some crappy phoned in action movie.
I was wrong. Jumper is so bad I’m surprised Doug Liman’s name is even on it. The idea of the movie is that this kid played by Hayden Christianson is part of a group of people who have the power to teleport anywhere in the world. There’s a mysterious government group trying to stop them. I’d like to say that once you watch the movie there’s more to it than that, but there really isn’t. Hayden’s character seems to be entirely selfish, with no conscience whatsoever. Sure, he doesn’t want to kill people, but he also doesn’t really seem to care to much what happens to other people. All he wants is to be able to do whatever he wants and live happily ever after with his girl.
I realize that his character is a teenager and that such immature motivations are fairly typical, but the whole idea of storytelling is for the character to have some sort of journey. In Jumper, despite the fact that they jump all over the planet, the characters don’t really go anywhere. Every character in the movie hasn’t really changed by the end of the movie.
Now I realize that Hollywood likes nothing more than a franchise, and I’m okay with that, but you do actually have to have an ending for each movie. Even if it’s a cliffhanger. Instead Jumper simply ends. You’d think that Liman would have learned from his previous success of The Bourne Identity that the right way to begin a franchise is to make a compelling first movie that has an ending that makes you want more, but still wraps up the major plot threads.
Word is that Jumper 2 is in the works. Honestly, I hope Doug Liman moves on to something better.